04/20 22:09 CDT Capitals beat Hurricanes 6-0 to take 3-2 series lead
Capitals beat Hurricanes 6-0 to take 3-2 series lead
By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Hockey Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) --- Nicklas Backstrom needed five games to match his goal
output from the entire 2018 playoffs, and he and Alex Ovechkin have the
defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals one victory away from the second round.
Backstrom had two goals and two assists, Ovechkin had a goal and two assists
and Braden Holtby stopped all 30 shots he faced to lead Washington to a 6-0 win
over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 on Saturday night.
Washington has a 3-2 series lead and can advance with a win at Carolina in Game
6 on Monday night.
After scoring five goals in 20 games during the Capitals' Cup run a year ago
that included missing four games with two fractures in his right pointer
finger, Backstrom has that many already in these playoffs. Ovechkin assisted on
Backstrom's second goal and Tom Wilson's on the power play and added the
exclamation point in the rout with a power-play goal in the third.
Lighting up Carolina's Petr Mrazek fired up the crowd and gave Washington the
lead in the series back after laying an egg in losses in Game 3 and Game 4 on
the road. Much of the credit belongs to the penalty kill that made easy work of
all five Carolina power plays, including three in quick succession in the
Holtby made six saves on the penalty kill and drew chants of his name from the
crowd that was in a chanting mood all night. "D-S-P! D-S-P!" roared throughout
the arena to salute 2018 playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly, who was playing his
first game with the Capitals since Feb. 17 after spending the past two months
in the minors in a salary-cap move.
Smith-Pelly filled the spot vacated by T.J. Oshie, who suffered an upper-body
injury late in Game 4 and is expected to be out long-term. When the game was
out of hand, fans chanted "T.J. Oshie!" to honor a popular player who was a
significant part of the franchise's first title.
Most importantly, Brett Connolly scored his first goal of the series and Nic
Dowd scored on a penalty shot to give Washington the secondary scoring it had
been lacking even with Oshie in the lineup.
Mrazek allowed six goals on 28 shots but was largely hung out to dry.
Washington went 2 for 3 on the power play, while Carolina came up empty on
several opportunities that could have changed the course of the game. Instead,
the Capitals moved one step closer to facing former coach Barry Trotz and the
New York Islanders.
NOTES: The team that scored first has won each game of this series. The home
team has also won each game. ... The Capitals improved to 11-3 this season
without Oshie. ... Carolina F Aleksi Saarela became the first player in
Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers franchise history to make his Stanley Cup playoff
debut before appearing in a regular-season game. Saarela replaced Jordan
Martinook (lower-body injury) in the lineup. ... LW Andrei Svechnikov took part
in the Hurricanes' morning skate and said he hopes to play in Game 6 after
being concussed in a fight with Ovechkin in Game 3. ... F Micheal Ferland
missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury.
The Hurricanes could set another arena attendance record Monday when they look
to stave off elimination in Game 6.
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